HQ Trivia splash screen

HQ Trivia lays off 20% of its staff

The studio behind the mobile quiz game HQ Trivia – also called HQ Trivia – has reportedly made a number of its staff redundant. Whilst the number of those directly affected as not yet been confirmed, it’s thought the cutbacks affect around 20 per cent of the team. 

TechCrunch reports that according to Sensor Tower, downloads are down 92 per cent year-over-year, which is thought to be why the studio is pivoting to a monthly subscription model of its other game, HQ Words. It appears the cuts have primarily hit staff working in HR, marketing and product engineering. 

It’s been a difficult year for HQ Trivia, with more than half of the company trying to oust CEO Rus Yusupov who reassumed control after the death of former CEO and co-founder, Colin Kroll. While 20 of its 35-strong team signed a letter asking for Yusupov’s resignation it was never sent, but Yusupov became aware of the plan and fired two staff believed to have started the petition, leading to the resignations of both its SVP of brand partnerships and marketing manager. It’s further rumoured that HQ Trivia’s popular quiz host, Scott Rogowsky, also left due to Yusupov.

These latest layoffs sadly come on the back of several other closures and cutbacks we’ve seen across studios in recent months, most recently at Mobile developer Endless Entertainment, Amazon and PayDay developer Starbreeze. In a brief statement on the latter company’s official website, the firm said it had decided to make organisational changes “in order to make the organization more efficient and reduce costs”, resulting in 60 redundancies – primarily from its Stockholm office – by November 2019. This would see the company shed a quarter of its 240 staff as it fights to remain solvent.

Amazon laid off “dozens” of employees from its Amazon Game Studios after shutting down multiple “unannounced projects”. Staff were told last month that they had 60 days to find alternative employment in the company and those unable to find alternative work in that time would receive severance packages. Amazon – which established its Game Studios in 2012 – would not confirm how many staff are affected by the changes.

Other recent layoffs and closures include Iron Tiger Studios, ArenaNet, Next Games, Forgotten Key, Define Human Studios, Bandai Namco Vancouver, and Trion Worlds. Telltale Games also laid off its staff in a studio closure back in September.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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